Transition Success Story: Benjamin Range

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August 01, 2013
by Allison
Early guidance from the Center for Development and Learning helped Benjamin Range on the path to a master's degree, despite autism.

Ben Range at his graduation from Duquesne UniversityBenjamin Range, 25, always knew he was good at history and science. He just didn't know why until he met with the specialists at Kennedy Krieger's Center for Development and Learning.

From the ages of 4 through 17, Benjamin visited the outpatient program, which evaluated, tested, and assessed him for autism.

While there, Benjamin learned he excelled at rapidly reading and processing information, as well as visualizing. He also discovered a knack for analyzing structure and patterns--all helpful qualities when studying science and history.

“It gave me a sense of how strong I am in certain areas,” Benjamin says.

By identifying his strengths, the center helped Benjamin use them to his advantage in the classroom. The center also taught Benjamin's parents, David and CJ, how to be effective advocates for their son. Specialists guided the Ranges on when to push Benjamin, when to back off, how to develop his social skills, and how to get special accommodations like extra time on tests at his Pennsylvania and Florida schools.

Those advocacy skills stayed with the Ranges throughout Benjamin's college education.

Benjamin received his bachelor's degree in history from McDaniel College in 2010, and earned his master's degree in public history from Duquesne University in December 2012.

Looking back, the Ranges say they are grateful for the guidance provided by Kennedy Krieger.

“Kennedy Krieger worked with our family,” David Range says. “And that early intervention made a difference.”

Benjamin says he hopes to soon work for a museum. But even if it takes a while to find a job, Benjamin says he won't give up. He, like many others with autism, has learned to focus on his strengths and use them to overcome challenges. And he has some advice for those in similar situations.

“Keep at it,” he says. “Don't lose hope. It can be challenging. But don't be afraid to ask for help. One challenge at a time is important.”

Return to the Potential feature article,
Transitioning into the Great Unknown: Adulthood

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